Winner of a 2020 MacArthur "genius" award for fiction that "interrogates culturally constructed notions of language, memory, and gender from a transnational perspective," Cristina Rivera Garza is a voice in contemporary letters, one who American readers are still discovering. New and Selected Stories brings together in English translation stories from across her career, including new writing not yet published in Spanish.
Indie press Dorothy's release of New and Selected Stories, which gathers 30-plus years of intriguing work, ensures English-speaking readers enhanced access to Rivera Garza ... Transparent understanding, definitive endings, convincing closure won't be found here; what Rivera Garza offers is invention, challenge, linguistic acrobatics and a more-than-occasional embrace of the impenetrable ... Rivera Garza's presentations invite continued interpretations and interrogations.
... [Rivera Garza's] work, which reads like a hybrid of reportage and Juan Rulfo's haunted fiction, wriggles into the cracks between emotions. Her most recent stories, especially, are full of the spooky, drifting sensation that sets in at some stage of processing loss: not quite fury, not quite sorrow, but the sense of a new and possibly permanent void ... Sarah Booker, Rivera Garza's longtime translator, handles the majority of the stories here, and does so beautifully ... Not many writers, regardless of fluency in their target language, are ruthless enough to self-translate. Rivera Garza is ... frankly, once you get used to the New and Selected Stories' eerie strangeness, it's hard to pick a favorite, or convince yourself to set the book down.
The primary tension in Rivera Garza’s fiction—between the unruly intensities of sexual desire and the political disciplining of the body—is at its most concentrated in the latest translation of her work ... Knowing and touching: these are the axes on which Rivera Garza’s fiction turns, with a certain predictable steadiness. Yet her single-mindedness is offset by the lure of her fractured forms, her gnomic sentences, and her fairy-tale settings ... The conceptual cunning of Rivera Garza’s stories cannot account for the passion that warms them.